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Cow Fertility and Effect on Longevity. PAUL VANRADEN Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD paul@aipl.arsusda.gov. Fertility / Longevity Data. Cows born 1992-1994 Cows sold for dairy purposes excluded 1,062,791 cows remained

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cow fertility and effect on longevity

Cow Fertility and Effect on Longevity

PAUL VANRADEN

Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory

Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD

paul@aipl.arsusda.gov

fertility longevity data
Fertility / Longevity Data
  • Cows born 1992-1994
    • Cows sold for dairy purposes excluded
    • 1,062,791 cows remained
  • Sired by 3080 sires
    • Progeny tested bulls with > 60 daughters
    • Older bulls to provide ties and relationships
  • Multiple-trait REML analysis
    • Heritabilities and correlations
    • Highest and lowest PTA’s (for bulls with > 2000 daughters)
cow fertility
Cow Fertility
  • Days Open
    • Calving interval – 280 days
    • Lower limit of 50 days, upper limit 250
    • Sold for reproductive problems = 250
  • Genetic parameters
    • 3.7% heritability
    • .32 correlation with protein
    • .30 correlation with SCS
pl and lifespan defined
PL and Lifespan Defined
  • PL
    • Credit for maximum 10 mo per lactation
    • Records  305d weren’t stored in database
    • Long calving intervals unprofitable
  • Lifespan
    • Credit for months between lactations
    • Higher yield and bST allow longer lactations
    • Embryo donors not penalized
lifespan and pl compared
Lifespan and PL Compared
  • Heritability
    • 6.7% for lifespan
    • 7.6% for PL
    • (8.5% official PL estimate since 1994)
  • Genetic correlations of lifespan
    • .986 with PL
    • More correlated than PL with yield
    • Less correlated than PL with SCS
    • Less correlated with fertility (-.46 vs -.59)
conclusions
Conclusions

Cow fertility has low heritability (3.7%) but high genetic correlation with PL (-.59).

  • Selection on PL is effective, but cow fertility evaluations could increase lifetime profit.
  • Embryo donors may need special edits or extra credit in longevity and fertility evaluations.